Considering that Guardian Insurance of America is one of the largest insurance companies in the U.S., it's not surprising that in September of 2007 Guardian announced that their dental network had reached the monumental milestone of over 60,000 Guardian dental providers.
About the Guardian Dental Providers
By 2008, the Guardian dental network hit 90,000 providers across the entire nation. Over the last few years Guardian has experienced double-digit growth throughout most major states and cities, and it is considered one of the top three dental networks in the country. Guardian provides employees of small and mid-sized companies more benefits than most other insurance companies, including a unique service where members can obtain electronic cost estimates for dental procedures and a comparison of cost between in-network and out-of-network dentists. Additional services offered by the "cost estimator" include:
- A glossary where members can look up dental terms
- A directory where members can search through Guardian dental providers
- Free articles about maintaining oral health
The Guardian Dental Provider Directory
Guardian provides members with an electronic dental provider directory where they can search through the PPO Network or the DHMO/Pre-Paid Network for dental providers local to where they live. Members who are part of the Preferred Plan Organization (PPO) will enjoy significant cost savings if they obtain services from a dentist within the PPO network, however PPO members have the option of utilizing any dentist at higher cost. The insurance policy will still cover the dental service, but the member's out-of-pocket costs will be significantly higher. Members who are part of the Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) must choose a dental provider within the DHMO network or the dental service will likely not be covered without prior approval from Guardian.
The Guardian PPO Networks
The Guardian PPO Networks include a variety of dental alliances and networks that cover a majority of the country. These networks include some of the largest dental groups in the country including the following:
- DentalGuard Preferred
- DentalGuard Preferred Select
- Dental Options
- Diversified Dental
- First Commonwealth
- Hawaii Independent Dental Alliance
- MasterCare 'DENTS'
- Premier Dental Group
Guardian members don't have the option to choose from any group they like, the network is determined by what is defined by the employer plan. Employees need to check with their employer before selecting which PPO network to search for a dental provider.
The Guardian DHMO/Pre-Paid Networks
The Guardian DHMO networks are even more important than the PPO networks because members don't have the option to obtain services from dentists that aren't part of the network. Each of Guardian's DHMO networks is specified for a particular state or region.
- Managed Dental Care (CA)
- Managed DentalGuard (FL, NJ, NY, TX)
- First Commonwealth (Cook County)
- Dominion Dental (D.C.,MD, PA, VA)
Like the PPO networks, the specific DHMO network available to Guardian members is determined by what's defined in the employer plan benefits.
Guardian Provider Search Options
In addition to searching for in-plan providers within a member's own area, the electronic provider search system also offers members and employers additional services.
On Guardian's Internet electronic search system called "Guardian Anytime," members and employers can access the benefits system 24 hours a day. Member options on the system include searching for additional information about their own specific plan benefits, check coverage amounts and verify claim status. Guardian currently maintains benefits for over 6.7 million employees across the country. Benefits for these employees include:
- Access to in-network dentists at 30 percent discounted rates
- Flexible plans
- Unique coverage that other insurance companies often don't cover such as:
- Cancer screenings
- Fluoride treatments
- Ability to roll over unused prepaid balances.
Additionally, Guardian touts an average three-day turnaround on claims and an impressive 97 percent satisfaction rate for in-plan dentists.
Employers: Choosing an Insurance Carrier
Employers prefer an insurance carrier that makes the management of employee benefits easy and uncomplicated. Guardian allows employers to use the online Guardian Anytime system to administer employee benefits online. Guardian is well-known for its excellent handling of employee health and dental benefits, so employers know that when they use Guardian as an insurance carrier, they can rest assured that their employees will be well cared for.